The city is working 24/7 to get the Rockaway beaches ready for the summer. Trains should be running by the end of this month. But if they build it, will they come?
Rockaway Taco reopened earlier this month. The few times I was there for lunch, business seemed good. This being before summer, on weekdays, without trains. Veggie Island opened their doors as well but I was there the very first day when all they had ready was some coffee and muffins. Full menu or not, folks came in to support the business.
Still. Crime is up. Residents are nervous about not having beach protection. The mood of some Rockaway natives is fairly negative. They worry that they remain unsafe while the concentration is put on tourism.
But Rockaway needs the tourism. Businesses were crushed. Some folks are still not back to their homes. Some will never return. This winter has been downright depressing in an area that’s already depressed.
Business advocates are working to lure commercial investors, but in my opinion, there aren’t enough residents to support these shops at the moment. Personally, I think Rockaway needs to offer incentives for newcomers such as artist live/work spaces. Non-residents need a reason to visit Rockaway year round: A huge surf school, a museum (perhaps a surfing museum?), a concert venue. Something along the lines of the DIA Museum that transformed the city of Beacon, NY.
One step at a time. Let’s see how this summer goes.
posted @ 6:17 am Comments (0)
Open living/dining/kitchen area.
One half of the two family Rockaway house will be liveable by June 1st! As in liveable for normal people, not someone like me who no longer notices lack of switchplates and doorknobs. The self imposed deadline was set for this weekend to take some pictures and start spreading the word. Although it’s ready for it’s close-up, it’s a few days from being ready to show. Show by next weekend? Yeah, probably!!
The entire house will be for sale or rent by the end of this month. I call it a two story bungalow. It’s a cozy (that means small in realtor speak) 2 BR over 1BR, just under 1000 square feet for the whole house. Gotta do some comps and math to come up with prices. The website will get started (but not finished) today.
I’m on a roll baby and it feels good!
Yeah, that toe kick needs to be painted and stove needs backsplash.
The old singer sewing machine base trick. A favorite of mine.
Long, narrow bedroom in the back of the house. I want to work a little magic on those plain, white doors if I get the time.
Kitchen area before.
Living room during demo.
posted @ 7:31 am Comments (3)
Six months ago parts of New York and New Jersey literally came crashing down around us. Hurricane Sandy hit us pretty hard, but we’re still here, aren’t we? Many are still homeless and undergoing major renovations, some businesses never reopened, but progress is being made.
Can’t speak of what’s going on in every hard-hit neighborhood because I’ve been trapped working on the Rockaway house everyday. I do know that people are working 24/7 to get the area ready for summer.
The A train still isn’t running out to Rockaway. Last I heard, it should be back in service by June.
Parts of the boardwalk are being rebuilt. There will be boardwalk “islands”.
Concession stands are under renovation and will return.
Sand is being replenished.
Rockaway Taco reopens by the end of this week.
Bungalow Bar has reopened after having $10k worth of materials looted during the renovation.
Thai Rock opens their deck in early May.
The first wine bar ever in Rockaway plans to open by Memorial Day.
Rockabus will be starting up on Memorial Day weekend.
And come hell or high water (no pun intended), my friggin house will be ready to show by mid-May.
posted @ 4:50 am Comments (0)
Shore Soup has been feeding hurricane Sandy victims in Rockaway since the perfect storm hit the area. Now they want to take it a step further and open up a pay-what-you-can restaurant. It will be mobile until they can get enough funds for brick and mortar. Good idea? Check out the video.
posted @ 5:23 am Comments (0)
Call for submissions from artists, designers and architects to put Rockaway back together again. MOMA PS1 started work on the temporary Rockaway dome that will house proposal exhibitions. Dome is set to open to the public in April. Progress, peeps!
posted @ 7:42 am Comments (0)
It’s far from from being back to normal but after struggling through the devastation of Sandy all winter, it looks like there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for Rockaway come this summer.
The summer brings only temporary fixes. The beach won’t be secured to ensure flooding doesn’t happen again. This band aid method makes residents nervous but at least the area will experience “life” anew, whether temporary or not. It will bring business to the shops that remain open despite residents not being able to spend the way they once did. It will be “alive” with surfers and children playing in the sand, people walking their dogs on the boardwalk. Think of it as a summer vacation before going back to properly rebuilding the area.
Not only will the boardwalk and concessions be up and running but the A train will be repaired by June. Any yes, as God(dess) is my witness, my house will be ready by then too!
*BTW, how much do I love that photo above with the ghost of Rockaway past looking upon the future? It gives me goosebumps.
posted @ 7:36 am Comments (0)
It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Rockaway has been through Sandy and the ongoing aftermath. Now the streets are being ripped up to install what I assume is new sewer lines. Totally not complaining about upgrades! If they are needed, then of course we should all be grateful.
It’s just sort of bad timing, is all.
Take yesterday for instance. I had a guy coming to reglaze a clawfoot tub in the morning, then I was going to buy a bunch of molding and studs for the house.
Guy starts stripping tub and sez he worries it won’t be warm enough to paint. I try to turn the heat up but wait…what happened to the heat? So, I borrow an electric heater from the neighbor so tub guy can get started and I begin the quest for firing up that boiler.
Batteries in thermostat are ok. I go outside to ask the crew digging up the street if they shut gas lines. No. Go back in to see if I have hot water. No water at all. Go back out to ask if they turned off water. No. “But your pipes may be frozen.” Let me say here that they were very helpful! Came in and told me they would put a torch on my lines to heat them up. I said I can do it with the heat paint stripper. So, Miss Wit and I sat there like schmucks in the freezing basement for nearly an hour heating the pipes. Nothing.
Here’s where I have the problem. Just like the plumbers who installed my boiler and couldn’t admit there was a gas leak (even though they actually fixed it), these guys would never acknowledge that they made a boo-boo. “Oh, it’s doubtful it’s on our side. We insulated the pipes as soon as we dug up the trench.” Finally, they knock on the door and tell me to keep my water running because they are starting to heat the main line coming into the house. Viola! Five minutes later I have water. And heat.
So, day wasted running around trying to get heat. Finally got to pick up some molding. Had to park in the middle of the torn up street up the block and run it into the house. Thankfully, Miss Wit was there to help.
Although this renovation definitely has more hiccups than any of my others, the whole episode yesterday was kind of just another day in the life of renovations. Unfortunately.
And yet. I live for this stuff.
posted @ 7:50 am Comments (0)
I didn’t come up with the name “Reclaimed Home” for nothing. I love salvaging old materials and restoring neglected homes that were once full of life. Yesterday I was reminded why I torture myself with endless renovations.
You may look at the photo above and say “Meh, it’s a rotten old sign.” Indeed, you would be correct, but this find had me jumping up and down. I discovered it as I took up the rotten bathroom floor. (We’ll chat more about that later.) The previous owners or someone before them used it as subflooring. The writing was not facing up so I didn’t know it was there until I actually started taking up the floor.
Unfortunately, the sign is in bad shape as the bathtub and toilet were leaking for years causing rot all the way through to the joists. Yes, the hole in the second photo was what the bathroom fixtures were sitting on. At any given time, someone could have ended up in the kitchen below while bathing or taking a dump. BTW, this is NOT the first old house I found such rot. Live in an old home? Pray they did the right thing when “renovating” as they often just cover things up. Enjoy your bath.
Anyway, back to the cool find. It seems to be more than one sign because I see “Library” and I also see “Club”. Actually, I’m guessing that perhaps they were the destination signs on the boardwalk? Anyone have a clue?
Whatever the case, even though they crumble in my hands, they will most definitely stay with the house as part of the reclaiming process. Right now, I’m thinking of embedding the edges in a plaster or concrete wall.
But it was nice to see that folks were reusing salvaged material even back then!
posted @ 8:58 am Comments (0)
I’m old enough to remember Hurricane Gloria in 1985. I lived in Coney Island with my parents at the time and went to the beach beforehand to catch some action but I wasn’t too impressed. Wasn’t born yet when Donna hit (Yay, I’m not completely ancient!) but this 8mm footage below is pretty amazing.
posted @ 8:34 am Comments (0)
Congregation Beth Elohim Volunteer Opps: With the advent of some great websites like Recovers.org and VolunteerSignup.com organizations and individuals are creating a vast network to coordinate needs and volunteers ( in this particular disaster as well as others).
Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope
is doing some excellent work on the ground; going to Rockaway, organizing donations for the Armory in Park Slope and more.
They have an online volunteer sign up that reaches out already through next weekend:
Food Prep, Field work in Rockaway, Supply Sorting…
Sign up here: http://www.volunteersignup.org/FE3BF
posted @ 4:47 pm Comments (1)
posted @ 7:47 am Comments (1)
My friend Deb will be helping compile lists of Sandy relief efforts on this blog in the upcoming days and weeks.
For now, here’s a quick cut -n- paste from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Friday, November 2, 12pm-4pm:
posted @ 12:16 pm Comments (0)
It’s been some some since I spoke about the new project. That’s because it’s taken forever to get a closing date and there were times I thought it wasn’t going to happen. Well, I’m finally getting the keys on Monday afternoon!
Most ladies get excited when they pack their bikinis for their beach houses, but I was psyched to pull out my trusty work boots and painting clothes.
Wanna see my packing list for the first week of demo? Sure you do!
posted @ 7:50 am Comments (4)
I didn’t want to jinx it by mentioning it, but now that my offer has been accepted, inspection is done and I’m about to go into contract, I think it’s safe to tell you about the new house!
After looking in The Rockaways in bad weather then deciding to search upstate for a few months, I got discouraged with “the country”. Yes, there were houses in my price range. Loads of them. And I looked at them all. Only, none of them made too much sense. After travel time and/or living away from home most of the week, high taxes and the amount of work these places needed, I decided to give it one last shot locally.
I caught this house on Craigs and the agent actually did her job (unheard of in NYC in my price range) by returning my call and showing me the house. Not only that, but she has followed through on everything with this deal.
Location is pretty darn good even if it’s not on the beach. It’s actually located on the bay side of the peninsula with a view of the water. The parks department bought the property across the street on the bay and it will be a park with an area to put in kayaks and such. At the rate they’re going, I’ll be finished before them. This is in the high Beach 80′s, close to Thai Rock and within walking distance to the hip beach area. Like 4 blocks walk to beach.
The house is not much to look at. New vinyl siding. Hate it! But since I gotta keep costs down and I don’t want to put all that vinyl in the dumpster, I’ll try to purdy it up best I can with some molding to take away from the fugliness.
The 1920′s house probably never had any detail to begin with and it surely doesn’t now. There is actually wood flooring under that carpet, but who knows what I’ll find behind that drop ceiling and wall paneling? I’m thinking of going with Hollywood Regency style to spice it up.
It’s a legal 2 family of about 1000 square feet and I’ll keep as two units. I figure that rental income is never a bad thing. When all is said and done, the house should be fairly affordable to moderate income buyers. Even if someone just purchases it as a second home or two parties want to split it, the two apartments, although small, make sense.
The kitchens will get face lifts as will the entire house. What is NOT getting ripped out? Hello….
So, here’s where this blog will take another turn. Look for info on The Rocks (Yeah, gross term, I know. I said it to make you puke in your mouth alittle.) in the upcoming months. I’ll be posting design tips and DIY videos once the renovation starts.
If you follow me on Pinterest and you’ve noticed me creating boards like “Siding options”, “Tiny Back Yards” and “Hollywood Regency” now you know why. Let the fun begin! (In about a month when I close.)
posted @ 6:34 am Comments (6)
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